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Catholic editing shouldn't be about perfection


Sometimes, I purposefully leave a mistake in my writing. Hear me out on this. (And side note, if I've worked with you as your editor, I promise I don't do this with clients' work!!) Editing is all about perfection, right? We are trying to be as perfect as possible, to not have any mistakes or errors, especially in spelling and grammar. Isn't that a little conceited? God is the only one who is perfect. And if by some miracle, He's allowed a screwed-up, scatter brained human like myself have a perfect piece of writing, it's certainly because of Him and not me. But when we edit, we are focused on making everything perfect, right? We want everything to be ironed out, cohesive, and clear, and that's good - as long as we don't think that our writing is perfect because of ourselves. As a spiritual exercise, I sometimes leave a mistake or two in my work on purpose. None of these mistakes are true errors (I want to give God my best!), but maybe a rule of grammar that I feel strongly about, but that can go either way. Take the Oxford comma. I LOVE the Oxford comma. I have had many a heated argument defending it. But, in the end, my work is not wrong if I do not include it. So, maybe I leave out an Oxford comma for the glory of God. And it's really hard. You see, as an editor by trade, both through Gloriam and in my full-time job, I am very invested in perfection. And I will beat myself up a lot if something is not the very best it can be. But when I allow a mistake or two to slip in, it helps me to recognize that I cannot do any of this alone. I am not perfect, and that's okay. By allowing these "mistakes" to go through, I am surrendering my perfection to God, and allowing Him to take control. It is only when I let go of my own attachment to my writing, and my work, that God can use it to glorify Him, in a way that I never could have imagined. So maybe try this spiritual exercise this month, of letting a small "mistake" slide into your work, to remind yourself that in the end, none of this is about us - it's about Him. St. John Bosco, patron saint of editors, pray for us!


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